The gangrenous and convulsive ergot syndromes that can follow the ingestion of C. purpurea have long been known. Art depicts the classic signs and symptoms of poisoning, such as the strange dancing syndrome shown in woodcuts from the middle ages in Germany and Poland.
The Temptation of St Anthony, a famous painting by the German artist Matthias Gr√ºnewald, depicts people with gangrenous digits, lurid rashes, ulcerations and dystonic postures. At the time of the painting, circa 1500 AD in the middle ages, this condition was known as St Anthony’s Fire.
From Mike Schachter’s chapter in Ergot-derived Drugs: A Cross Therapy Evidence-based Review (ISBN 1853156140).